Q♠T♠ with Multiple Draws, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT: In a Tournament it folds to you in Middle Position and you raise with Q♠T♠. The Cutoff reraises and you are the only caller. You check-call the 8♥8♠9♠ flop. On the Q♣ turn you check and Villain bets. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a Tournament with 1500/2500 blinds, it folds to us in Middle Position with QTs. We make a standard raise to 5500. The Cutoff reraises to 16,000 and it folds back around to us. We decide that this is a good hand to defend with and call.

The flop of 8h8s9 is a really good flop for our hand as we now have a gut shot straight draw, a flush draw, and two over cards. We check to our opponent and they bet 15,000. The first thing we want to do in these situations is to evaluate calling. If we view poker like a multiple choice test where calling, raising and folding are the options, eliminating one of these choices gets us much closer to making the correct decision. If we can call here, we know we cannot fold and if we cannot call then we fold or raise.

We have at least 12 outs here. Villain could have a full house/quads, but 88/99 should make up a very small percentage of their overall range and most of the time all of our gutshot and flush outs should be good. Sometimes we even have 18 outs when all 3 queens and all 3 tens are still live as outs. We never really know how often those are good though so for the purposes of estimating here we are going to use 14 outs.

With 14 outs, if we use the rule of 2 we are 28% to hit on the next card. This means we need just under 3:1 combined pot and implied odds to continue. There is 51,000 in the pot and we have to call 15,000 so we are getting MORE than 3:1 on our money immediately. That is a very compelling case for calling and we can rule out folding.

Continued below...

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In order to raise in this situation we have to conclude that raising is more profitable, and with these stacks that is difficult to do. If the stacks were shallow where we could just raise all-in this would be a very compelling spot to do so given our likely equity in the pot and the fold equity we could generate. However in this spot a reasonable raise would be nearly half of the effective stacks and if our opponent did call that would put us in a very awkward turn spot when we miss. We decide to call.

The turn is the Qc and now we have two-pair with a weak kicker. We decide to check again and Villain bets 45,000. Folding doesn’t seem like an option for us given the strength of our hand and the amount of outs we have when we are behind. So is moving all-in or calling the best play?

Moving all-in with the amount of equity we have in the pot is likely profitable, but calling here keeps our opponent’s range as wide as possible. The queen on the turn is a good bluff card for their range (they can easily be trying to represent AQ here in addition to bigger pairs). We want hands like AK/JJ/TT to stay in Villain's range and give them another chance to bluff, or even thin value bet, those hands on the river.

Moving all-in is tempting here so that we don’t have to face tricky river decisions, however keeping our opponent's hand range wide allows us to realize the most profit versus their entire range.

Calling is the best play.

What would you do here?
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